Lethal fungal infection spreads wildly at US hospital Covid-19 ward

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 10, 2021

A hospital in Florida, United States, has found a lethal fungus -- candida Auris -- unprecedentedly spreading across its Covid-19 ward.

According to media reports, the hospital in Florida discovered a mysterious fungal infection infecting dozens of people who were being treated for coronavirus.

This multidrug-resistant yeast was first detected in Japan in 2009. It gained the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, becoming its top priority in recent years because of its increasing global spread.

According to the HealthSite report, the recent fungal outbreak began in July when a hospital, which the report did not name, informed the Florida Department of Health of an initial four cases of fungus among patients being treated for the coronavirus.

The hospital then detected 35 more patients as being C. Auris-positive after additional screening in its Covid-19 unit was carried out. The data found was available for only 20 out of the 35 patients. 8 patients out of these 20 people died, but whether the fungus was the main reason is yet to be found out.

What is Candida Auris?

According to the CDC, Candida Auris is a yeast that causes severe illness in hospitalized patients. It can enter the bloodstream and affect different parts of the body, causing serious illnesses. C. Auris is usually caught inside a healthcare setting, especially when people have feeding or breathing tubes, or catheters placed in large veins.

It causes bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It has also been found in urine and respiratory samples, but it’s not clear if the fungus infects the lung or bladder.

CDC said “most C. Auris can be treated with the use of antifungal drugs called echinocandins.”

CDC noted: “Outbreaks such as that described in this report highlight the importance of adhering to recommended infection control and PPE practices and continuing surveillance for novel pathogens like C.Aurisis.”

Published on January 10, 2021

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